Sensitivity Analysis of Hydrocyclone Performance in Mineral Processing Using Monte Carlo Simulation

sidney viana


The hydrocyclone separator is a processing equipment very used in the mineral industry for size separation of solid particles in ore slurries. It is also an equipment with low concerns about its control for an efficient performance. Traditionally, the monitoring and control of hydrocyclone is done by means of its operational variables as the flowrate Q, the density r, and the pressure P of the feed slurry stream of the hydrocyclone. However, the main outcome variable of interest in a hydrocyclone is its “cut-off size”, d50, which is the size at which 50% of the solids particles, in average, go to the coarse output (underflow) of the hydrocyclone, and the remaining 50%, in average, go to its fine output (overflow). The vast majority of hydrocyclone applications in mineral processing do not measure d50 on-line, because this requires the use of very expensive particle size analyzers. Because of this, hydrocyclones are usually operated in open loop with regards to its cut-off size d50, yet under closed loop control of the operational variables that affect d50 as the flowrate Q and the density r of the feed slurry stream. Nevertheless, most hydrocyclone applications suffer from bad performance due to the lack of understanding about the quantitative impact of the operational variables on the main outcome variable, the cut-off size d50. In this context, this article intends to quantify the relative impact of the flowrate Q and the density r on the cut-off size d50 by running Monte Carlo simulation on a mathematical model of the hydrocyclone. The results obtained provide useful knowledge for proper control of hydrocyclone performance.


hydrocyclone; mineral processing; Monte Carlo simulation; size separation

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DOI: 10.3895/jaic.v5n2.5963


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ISSN: 2594-3553

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